Teaching Kids to Be Kind to One Another

I use a lot of Disney movies to teach in my household. In fact, a favorite around here is the Live-Action Cinderella which teaches “Have Courage and Be Kind.” Being Kind takes a certain amount of courage. It doesn’t always come easy, and many times we are ridiculed for being kind. And just seeing Cinderella be kind, even when she is faced with mean people, doesn’t teach everything I want my children to learn. These 40 Acts of Kindness for Kids is just the thing parents need to begin to develop children who perform acts of kindness without you present. Teaching kids kindness is a very important part of raising children.

Yesterday I talked with my 14-year-old about how I used to give up things during Lent. After growing up, I quit “giving up things” and tried to be kind to others. I want to teach my children to model the love of Christ to all they meet, but how can I do this in a relevant way? I decided to do 40 Days and 40 Acts of Random Kindness. Teaching kids kindness begins by doing small acts of kindness on a daily basis.

Where to Find Kindness Activities to Teach Your Kids

Searching the internet I found all sorts of charts, graphs, calendars, and sites that give ideas on how to perform good deeds, and develop kind behavior. I will link to some of them below, but not all of these systems will work for my family:

The Calendar:

A great way for many families to teach kindness that have both younger children and older children is through kindness activity calendars. These types of ideas usually have items such as Return a grocery cart on Wednesday – I know it is just a suggestion, but we don’t go to the grocery store every week. Sometimes I have my husband just stop on his way home. Sometimes we don’t even leave the house through the week. Calendar-based ideas do not work in my house, because if I don’t check off one day, I give up.I will admit that I have a hard time keeping to a strict schedule. Having a special needs child means life is very unpredictable. But a calendar will work for many families.

The following is a Calendar from WonderMomWannaBe.com. She has calendars for every month.

Donate Bags of Items: 

There is actually a movement to fill a bag a day for 40 days. This type of activity helps young children begin to understand that they may have blessings that other children don’t. If you want to declutter this is a great place to begin. Even if you don’t fill an entire bag each day, but instead work room-by-room filling bags will go a long way to helping yourself and others.

However, this does not work for my household either. I don’t have the time to fill garbage bags every day until Easter. Even though I can certainly downsize, the purpose of the 40 Days/40 Acts is to model kindness. I think my children need to see some of the recipients of the kind acts. In addition, the filling of bags makes us feel good, but the minimalist lifestyle does not help if all we are doing is donating merchandise and those goods end up in landfills. This article highlights the problem of donations.  “. . .ends up in landfills. Eleven percent of donations made to Goodwill in 2014, for example, were deemed unsaleable and carted to landfills — about 22 million pounds in all — costing the organization millions of dollars in transport fees and other expenses.”

Unless I am willing to teach a minimalist lifestyle and stick with it (not going out and replacing the clothes I donated), I don’t believe this is a kind act. It does make a person feel good, however, often in my quest to fill a bag, I have donated something to find out that I needed it 2 weeks later.

However, donating used items to a local family may be a great opportunity to bless a family going through difficult situations.


The chart idea is good for my lifestyle because it highlights ideas that I can pick and choose from without it being a directive set in stone. I like this chart from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

A kindness activities chart form allows me to pick and choose from a list. This helps family members have input in which activities to select. Maybe you can sit down at the dinner table and discuss the upcoming week’s activities. Also, make sure to discuss the importance of kindness. Begin when your children are young to practice kindness. This character development helps you to produce kind kids.

If you need Christmas ideas for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar and lists, check out these free printables!

Or the List Over at Six Sisters Stuff which is actually a list for Christmas, but has items such as: “For one day, try to pick up at least three pieces of trash wherever you are” or “Compliment at least 5 people in one day (this is also a great challenge for kids!).”

Be the light that helps others see hands holding a candle with other small candles in the background

Teaching Kids Kindness What if My Children Aren’t Learning How to Be Kind?

First, take a few deep breaths, and then remind yourself that nothing is changed immediately. One of the best ways to teach your children is for them to see you being kind. Are you modeling kindness? Do your children see you do good things for others? Are you speaking kind words about others? Many times our children are actually modeling what they see us do. Remember, good behavior is caught, not taught.

The next step is to be intentional about speaking kind words over your own children. If you want to raise good people, they need to believe they can be good people. Speaking life is such an important thing that Bible actually talks about it. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Speak blessing.

Other Ideas for Kindness Activities:

Volunteer for an afternoon at a local food bank.

Help out an elderly neighbor – rake leaves, cut grass, pick up sticks in the yard. Or just sit and have tea and cookies.

hands of an elderly women making cookies with young child watching

See if you can help an animal shelter – they usually are looking for volunteers.

Ask a kindergarten teacher if you can buy craft supplies for her classroom. If you have younger kids, they will love shopping for other children.

Consider service projects that the entire family can participate in such as having a lemonade stand and donating the profit or hosting a neighborhood food drive.

In our everyday life, we can find ways to be kind to others. But you also need to point out the activities that unkind people do such as bullying, abandoning dogs on the side of the road, or throwing trash out the car window. Explain to your children that many times people perform unkind acts because that is how they were raised.

Graphic that reads Have courage and be kind with hearts around it

I would love you to join me in my quest to spread joy, happiness, and kindness throughout the next 40 days! Over the next month and a half, I will be selecting items from the above lists (and maybe making up some of my own), and daily I will post what we do on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #40Days40Acts, and I invite you to do it along with me.

Patty @ A Mother’s Random Thoughts

There are books to help teach kids kindness. (These are affiliate links. This means that I will get a small percentage of the sale of the items to help with the cost of my blog):

Teaching children to be kind pinterest graphic with candles and elderly women making cookies

2 thoughts on “Random Acts of Kindness for Kids – Plus Free Printable”

  1. Marko @ parentsupporthub.com

    Great article! Children will begin to act on their own kindness if it is encouraged early. Initially, they need guidance as being kind is a social skill that must be taught. Asking them to help a sibling with a toy or putting on their sweater then acknowledging and thanking them for their assistance are small ways to encourage kindness. Eventually, you will see them helping without being asked and it is still very important to acknowledge the deed. “Thank you so much for helping Chelsea with her sweater that was very kind of you.” You will see a glow of delight on their face at your positive acknowledgment of their behavior.

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I truly believe that if children are caught in the act of being kind, praise will want them to continue to be kind. Eventually the good feelings of being kind will just be enough without the praise. I think instead of anti-bullying, we should focus on being kind!

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